How to Write Your Congressperson

Artwork: Robin Meade

Below are two sample letters to senators and congresspeople about Social Security disability issues. Real life letters! That worked!

First letter: Fixed the problem within two weeks

Second letter: Fixed the problem within five days

Don’t get caught in red tape. I have met people who have spent a year or more caught in Social Security red tape. If you are in financial crisis or in danger of becoming homeless, contacting your congressperson can get your money released! I have seen it happen. It doesn’t always work. But it can.

Can My Congressperson Help Me?

Sometimes they can help a little, sometimes they can help a lot, sometimes they can’t help at all. When Your Congressperson Can (and Can’t) Help.

It is important to know what kind of help to ask for. Otherwise, they will just do a general “status check” on your case. This may make you feel better (and may help the Congressperson get your vote) but it won’t actually help your case in any way.

How Do I Ask For Help? Where Do I ask for Help? Where Do I Send a Letter?

Good questions. Read this: How and Where To Get Help from Your Congressperson or Senator. Please contact both Congressperson and Senator’s office. They are different and you may get better help at one or the other.

The Letters

Now the letters! Both these letters worked! But both these letters required follow-up phone calls.

After you send your letter, call, call, call until they actually find and read your letter and talk to you about it. There is someone at their office who has the job of helping constituents who are having problems with federal agencies. That is their job! Ideally, you want to find and talk to that person, not the random person who answers the phone.

You can send your letter by mail or through a form on their website. Or you can skip the letter and just start by calling. Different people have had success doing it different ways.

Letter One: Request for Quicker Backpay and First Check

Dear ______________,

I am a constituent and I am writing to ask for your help. I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide me with any assistance or support for my situation.

My Background

I am disabled from (diagnosis). I have severe (limitation or symptom). I have (this situation, see note at bottom of this page)*

My Situation Now

I am becoming homeless. I have no income, no place to go, and no way to pay rent. I am in danger of being in a crisis situation. I am enclosing a copy of an eviction notice.

The good news is: I have recently been approved for Social Security Disability and I am waiting to receive my backpay and my first check. As soon as I am able to get this payment, I will be able to rent a home and take care of myself. I have already received an approval letter. I have contacted Social Security multiple times and I have also been to the local office, but my check is being delayed by their administrative process.

Request for Assistance

Would it be possible to contact Social Security on my behalf to see if there is any way to get my disability check released more quickly? I have already been approved, but I will become completely homeless if I do not receive the first check soon.

Thank you for your kindness and consideration,

Letter Two: Request to Fix an Administrative Mistake that Caused Check to Stop

Dear _____________,

I am a resident of ______________ and a constituent and I am writing to ask for your help.

My Situation

I believe the social security administration made a clerical error with processing a form in my file. Because of this clerical error, I am now going into poverty and cannot pay for food and rent.

Request for Assistance

I am writing to ask if your office would be willing to inquire about this form on my behalf.  I would be extremely grateful for your assistance. I tried calling social security to ask what happened but I am told that they do not know what happened.

Relevant Details

* my name is ______________

* my social security number is ______________

* the clerical error is: ______________

* the name of the form is ______________

* this form was submitted on (this date)

* I have written proof that the form was submitted

* I have written proof that the form was received by the deadline

* When I asked social security what happened with this form I was told: “I don’t know what happened”

I am in a vulnerable situation and cannot pay for food and rent. It would help me a great deal if you could find out any information.

Thank you,

* Optional: Please don’t send your congressperson your life story (They are busy! A long letter might not be read at all). You can add one or two sentences with anything else important. For example:

“I am a parent and my children and I are becoming homeless”

“I am confined to a wheelchair”

“I am homebound from severe illness”

“I am a veteran”

“I am experiencing debilitating pain”

“I have been homeless for the past year”

“My 6-year old child also has disabilities and I am her caretaker”

“My house is being foreclosed upon and I will soon be homeless”

“I have an eviction notice in 5 days and will become homeless”

“My utilities will be shut off in 3 days”

“I need medication for my condition but I cannot afford to fill the prescription.”

“I also have no insurance or access to medical care, which I need for my disability.”

“I had a car accident, fire, flood, or other life tragedy”

5 thoughts on “How to Write Your Congressperson”

  1. Perhaps you can add another page:

    “What to do when the Congressperson you asked for help just lost the election and their staff members you met with just got fired as a result…”


  2. I’m in the processing state, there is nothing on how to write a letter to my congressmen. I was declared by the Department of Human Services that i’m disabled, so can you please start me off on how do I write my letter.
    Much appreciate it


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